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- : PDF Turf Packets - During the late summer of 2010, I spent a good amount of time noodling around with a PDF generation library and doing some rather unholy reverse engineering of the Mercator projection. The result was PDF Turf Packets: a feature which allowed field organizers in VAN to download their turf packets rather than sending them to the printer. Sounds like a minor tweak. But by my calculation this tiny feature wound up saving Democratic campaigns over 8,000 hours of staff time… during the 2010 cycle alone!
- : ActionCenter - An app which allows volunteers to earn points and badges in exchange for completing tasks to support a progressive cause or Democratic campaign. I led the team which developed this app in preparation for a ballot initiative in 2011, and subsequently expanded and generalized it for the 2012 mid-term elections. We won a series of Pollie awards for it!
- : OpenVPB - A website which allows VAN users to easily publish virtual phone banks and distribute them to volunteers painlessly. I developed this application during NGP VAN’s first hackathon.
- : NGP VAN TextBanking - One of my biggest projects as the Innovation Platform Director at NGP VAN was the introduction of features to support text banking. At the time this was a revolutionary new method for campaigns and organizations to contact voters and supporters, but we needed and efficient mechanism for our platform to integrate with text bank vendors like Hustle and RelayTxt (now GetThru.) I designed the API which established this two-way information exchange, and it paved the way for millions of contacts in the ensuing years.
- : NGP VAN Innovation Platform - As the Innovation Platform Director at NGP VAN, I managed our documentation and was the primary support person for API developers. While there, I developed the “time to hello world” metric, and helped drive it down froom days to hours. I helped facilitate dozens of new integrations with the platform, notably the Mobilize events integration. I also guided our teams in designing APIs and oversee strategy for our API.
- : Wayfair Pricing Engine - One of the first hats I wore at Wayfair was the staff engineer for the Wayfair pricing engine. When I arrived the engine was a rather bulky, awkward, slow, and fragile thing built on dozens of stored procedures. Over time we built it into a snappy event-driven pipeline. I helped redesign the auditing piece of the pipeline, which had been one of the slowest steps in the pipeline; the redesign shaved hours off the speed of the pipeline in moving prices to site.
- : Wayfair .NET Working Group - During my first year or so at Wayfair, I spent quite a bit of time guiding the .NET community. That included making the case for a company-wide .NET support team, adopting a proficiency quiz for code reviewers, and establishing best practices for API development. Most importantly, we developed a really lively community and had quite a bit of fun!
- : Wayfair Partner Home - We’ve put together some pretty revolutionary new pricing tools for Wayfair partners over the course of 2020. I drove the architecture for this project and helped coordinate the service contracts for nearly a dozen different platform teams. We worked hand-in-glove with our user interface counterparts in order to deliver a vibrant, easy-to-use, beautiful new app that will serve our partners well for years to come.
- : Wayfair Governance Layer - In 2021, I helped to build the governance layer for Wayfair microservices. This work was a critical part of our self-service initiative, helping engineers drive the infrastructure needed for their microservices and alleviating the operational burden on infrastructure providers.
- : Wayfair API Gateway - I spearheaded the effort to stand up Wayfair’s enterprise API gateway in 2021 and 2022. This effort entailed two phases - first, wiring up the various components of the gateway, including its control and data planes, database, etc., and properly connecting it to our public network ingress layer. Second, and perhaps more challenging, was driving adoption of the gateway throughout the enterprise. We followed developer adoption best practices, starting with a couple of small, “simple” API projects that we could readily implement. Within six months of launching the gateway, we were able to onboard the API for Wayfair’s public extranet, a major pillar of Wayfair’s relationship with suppliers and other partners.
- : Chewy Promotions Engine - One of my roles at Chewy is to help lead the Promotions team, responsible for calculating promotions on several billion dollars worth of revenue. I’ve helped to design several cutting-edge projects that will be going live soon, to sharply reduce abuse of the promotion engine, to modernize the tech stack of our engine, and to provide customers with “last-minute” opportunities to earn discounts at checkout. As a staff engineer, I also believe in working to “level up” my team, and I’ve focused on introducing Architecture Decision Records as a way to improve our documentation and decision-making. We’re only just getting started!
- : OpenAPI Workflows - I’ve joined the committee developing the OpenAPI Workflows specification. Today the main OpenAPI specification enables API producers to document the “ingredients” of their API - that is, the resources which the API provides, and the operations available on those resources. The Workflow specification will enable API producers to document the “recipes” of their APIs as well - that is, how those resources and operations can be combined together to generate useful value for API consumers. I’ve contributed a couple of changes to the specification, and also established our relationship with the Cloud Native Serverless Workflows group, which is a related project.
- : Dispatches from the Religious Left - A book about the growing movement of left-wing religious voices, i.e. the Religious Left. It was a series of essays by several luminaries in the field, mostly covering hot-button issues like separation of church and state; I contributed an essay on use of technology by the religious left.
- : Tech for Warren - A volunteer group for people interested in building technology solutions for the Warren for President campaign. It was quite a wild cycle for us, but we did notch a few successes - including the incredible Two-Cent Stories project.
- : How to get involved in progressive tech - I put together a guide to the progressive tech industry, aimed at anyone who is interested in building software for progressive causes, or is otherwise technologically-inclined. It’s built entirely on my own observations and experiences, but certainly would benefit from some reviews and contributions - please take a look and contribute!
- : Progressive Workshop - A resource center for the progressive tech industry. It was the home for my thoughts on this space, an “idea lab” proposing solutions to problems in the larger movement, as well as my collection of resources (git repos, Twitter lists, etc.) that cover the space. I shuttered the site in May 2022, in favor of Code Hope Labs.
- : Code Hope Labs - A virtual think tank for the progressive tech ecosystem. It’s my home for a catalog of ideas for improving the ecosystem, problems facing it, and useful resources for those seeking to build new solutions. There’s an accompanying Slack channel for folks interested in the progressive software space - feel free to join!
- : Green Leaf - In dribs and drabs I’ve been working on a story since February 2015. It’s about a plucky, environmentally-conscious entrepreneur who starts a solar panel company, and becomes wrapped up in a plot to clean up the energy industry and reverse global warming. Who knows, some day I might post it.
- : The Origin of Sadness - A short story I’ve drafted and torn up a couple of times. The idea is inspired by Plato’s tale of the Origin of Love, but it’s informed by my own fascination with the arithmetic hierarchy and how it relates to the problem of home, nostalgia, and quite good pie.
- : The Menu - A short story I wrote about a preposterously powerful piece of artificial intelligence. It was an exploration into a genre I call techno-magical realism.
- : The Recipe - A short story I wrote to explore Lady Lovelace’s Objection, furthering my adventure in techno-magical realism through the epistolary format. It imagines a modern-day exchange of letters between Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing. Chocolate chip cookies feature prominently, what else could you want?
- : The Game - A short story I wrote about correspondence chess, in the format of kishōtenketsu. Yet another piece of techno-magical realism. It’s perhaps my most prosaic and didactic work about the limits of AI yet. Like my other stories, this one is source-controlled and available on Gitbook.
- : Visibility-Based Pursuit-Evasion in an Unknown Planar Environment - A paper on theoretical robotics I wrote in grad school. We proved that a theoretical robot with very limited sensing technology could detect intruders in a smooth planar environment - without the need for a map or any a priori knowledge!
- : Boston Drinking Liberally - I started the Boston chapter of Drinking Liberally in September 2004, and continued organizing it for ten years, stepping down in December 2014. I had some great times along the way, helping to promote quite a few progressive books (including Crashing the Gate) and hosting a few local politicos. They’re still going strong!
- : Democracy for Cambridge - I started the Cambridge chapter of Democracy for America shortly after the end of the Dean campaign in 2004. We worked to get our members involved in local politics, in races ranging from city council to Secretary of the Commonwealth, and to educate the community more broadly about those races. Through that work we helped to protect the Goodridge decision, and paved the way towards nationwide marriage equality.
- : National Science Digital Library - During my time at Isovera, I led development for the BiosciEdNet (BEN) project, which was a “pathway” of the larger NSDL project. As part of that work I also helped establish several other digital libraries in biology education which partnered with BEN. Those partner libraries in turn led to the open source IsoveraDL project. After leaving Isovera I served as an NSDL panelist, which was quite a fascinating look at the fine details of the grantmaking process.
- : Cambridge book club - For a long while I ran this amazing book club. We read books and talk about them, and it’s always a really fascinating, interesting discussion. If you’re in the area and love books, you should definitely check it out!
- : Laws of Software - A site that aims to be a canonical list of the laws of software, including a bit of useful metadata about each one. I put together this site after realizing that no similar kind of list existed elsewhere online, and learned quite a bit in the process!